Former MVP suffers potentially devastating injury right before playoffs

Apr 9, 2024; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34)
Apr 9, 2024; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) / Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

As the playoffs are creeping closer, teams seem to be getting healthier and gearing up to go on a run. The Nuggets got Jamal Murray back, and he’s been looking good after being reinserted into the starting lineup. The T-Wolves are expecting Karl-Anthony Towns back any day, and the Hawks got Trae Young back last night.

Last year’s MVP, Joel Embiid was out for two months, but he was able to return recently and has been looking great for the Sixers. But things have gone the other way for another recent MVP, Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Giannis Antetokounmpo injury scare

The Bucks have been struggling for a while now, but the team has mostly played well when their whole starting lineup is on the floor. They’ve managed to hold onto the two-seed and dominated the Celtics the other night in one of their best performances of the season.

It looked like things might be falling into place just at the right time for Milwaukee as they were starting to ramp up after a brutal stretch of losses. But then in the late stages of their home win over Boston, Giannis pulled up lame and fell to the floor immediately.

He stayed down, holding his leg until finally being helped to the locker room by teammates, clearly favoring one leg. That’s obviously never what anyone wants to see, but the nature of the non-contact injury, and the timing being so close to the end of the season was especially concerning.

Bucks facing uphill battle

There was initial concern about his Achilles, but MRI results have indicated that his Achilles is intact and the injury is just a calf strain. While this is positive news, Giannis was quickly ruled out for the rest of the regular season and his playoff status is now in question.

The injury occurred on April 9th and the playoffs begin on April 20th. That’s not even two weeks for him to recover. There is a very real chance that he won’t be back for game one of the team’s first-round series, and even if he does, he likely won’t be at full strength.

It’s just a devastating blow for a team that has gone all in on this season. Between the trade for Damian Lillard and the midseason hiring of Doc Rivers, this team was as pot-committed as any to try and win a championship. It was looking like an uphill battle even at full health, and now that hill has gotten much steeper.